January 1: Ceasefire takes effect on all fronts “pursuant to the agreement arrived at as provided for in UNCIP resolution of August 13, 1948”. Relief and joyful expectancy at popular level (especially in Kashmir) is dampened by skepticism in knowledgeable circles about prospect of implementation of peace plan.
January 5: UN Commission for India and Pakistan adopts resolution saying, the question of the accession of the State of Jammu and Kashmir to India or Pakistan will be decided through the democratic method of a free and impartial plebiscite.
February 4-March 22: UNCIP returns to subcontinent to draw up truce agreement between Pakistan and India. In advance of agreement, Pakistan appeals to all tribesmen and Pakistan nationals to withdraw from Kashmir. Some thinning of forces takes place on both sides. Final exchange of Prisoners of War (along with a dozen prominent political prisoners in Indian-held Kashmir is arranged through International Red Cross between January 10-13. Truce Committee of UNCIP obtains agreement on cease-fire line. Admiral Chester Nimitz (a US war hero) is nominated as Plebiscite Administrator by UN Secretary General. His formal induction into office was to take place on completion of withdrawal of forces according to jointly agreed schedule. These auguries of progress towards settlement begin to fade in atmosphere thickened with controversy. Divergent interpretations of the international agreement (embodied in UNCIP resolutions) put forth as “elucidations” of the agreement provided by UNCIP to the two sides are published. UNCIP convenes meeting in March of representatives of the two parties at which they are invited to present for discussion their proposals for truce. Pakistan presents paper suggesting framework within which, subject to agreement, high commands of the two armies can work out together a detailed and synchronised withdrawal programme and Pakistan forces would be withdrawn within three months. India does not submit any plan to joint discussion and agreement.
April 28: UNCIP formulates “truce terms” – i.e. programme of demilitarisation – and communicates them to the two governments. India demands (a) disbanding and disarming of Azad Kashmir forces as condition for phasing withdrawal of bulk of Indian troops and (b) acceptance of principle that Indian troops garrison important strategic points in the northern areas. India further requires that programme of withdrawal of Indian forces agreed upon with UNCIP should not be communicated to Pakistan until Truce Agreement has been arrived at. Pakistan declares its readiness to withdraw all Pakistani troops from Kashmir as soon as schedule of withdrawal of “bulk” of Indian forces is known “on the basis of which a synchronised withdrawal of the two armies could be arranged”. Regarding disposition of Azad Kashmir forces, Pakistan suggests that as the issue corresponds to disposition of Kashmir State forces on the other side, Plebiscite Administrator (whose mandate under jointly-accepted resolution of January 5, 1949 includes disposal of all forces in Kashmir) be associated with discussion to evolve an agreement even before his formal induction into office.
June 9: Under auspices of UNCIP and on its initiative, Ceasefire Line Agreement is signed in Karachi by military representatives of Pakistan and India along with representatives of UNCIP. Karachi Agreement demarcates ceasefire line and provides (in accordance with resolution of August 13, 1948) that “UNCIP will station observers where it deems necessary”. Agreement is promptly ratified by both governments, UN Military Observers’ Group for India and Pakistan (UNMOGIP) present, since ceasefire, is now provided strengthened legal foundation.
August: As logical sequel to Karachi Agreement, UNCIP proposes tripartite meeting at political level on August 17 to conclude Truce Agreement stipulating programme of withdrawal of forces. Meeting is cancelled in view of persisting differences between the two sides.
August 26: In effort to end stalemate, UNCIP makes formal proposal that the two governments agree to submit to arbitration by Admiral Nimitz, Plebiscite Administrator-designate, all questions at issue between them regarding implementation of Part-II of UNCIP resolution of August 13, 1948 (listing truce terms), the arbitrator “to decide these questions according to equity”. UNCIP makes clear that arbitration will not affect objective of demilitarisation and free plebiscite and that it will terminate “once the truce terms are agreed upon”. On August 20, US President Truman and British Prime Minister Attlee issue joint appeal to Pakistan and India to accept UNCIP proposal for arbitration.
September-October: As demonstrative of world leadership interest in peaceful settlement of Kashmir dispute, Truman-Attlee appeal generates hope in Kashmir about earlier ceasefire but dashed by tortuous course of later negotiations. Pakistan responds to UNCIP proposal with a one-sentence letter of acceptance. India rejects proposal mainly on ground that question of Azad Kashmir forces “cannot be left to the decision of an arbitrator”. UNCIP replies to this contention on September 10 as “both governments have agreed to large-scale disbanding and disarming of their forces” and “the difference that has arisen on this matter has not been one of substance but of scope, method and timing” and that “arbitration would apply to this aspect only”. Unconvinced, India expresses surprise and disappointment at UNCIP suggesting a procedure India calls “novel and without precedent”. This spells end of UNCIP’s labours. In its final report (submitted some weeks later), it recommends Security Council to appoint a representative, rather than a commission, to help resolve contentious issues between the two governments. Kashmir dispute runs along a two-track course. At formal diplomatic level, negotiations via United Nations continue with focus on establishing conditions for a fair plebiscite. At domestic level, India pursues systematic policy of integrating Indian-held Kashmir with India and thus seal Maharaja’s accession.
October 17: Article-370 is inserted in Indian Constitution giving Kashmir certain special rights not available to other states of India.
December: Following UNCIP’s final report, Security Council on December 17 requests its President, Gen A.G.L. McNaughton (Canada) to mediate between the parties and find a “mutually satisfactory basis for dealing with the Kashmir problem”. Gen McNaughton formulates his proposals on December 22. Comprehensive in scope, they seek “to preserve the substantial measure agreement on fundamental principles already reached” between the parties “under the auspices of the United Nations”. They affirm the objective of determining “the future of Jammu and Kashmir by the democratic method of free and impartial plebiscite to take place as early as possible”. In an effort to cut through the tangle of controversies about implementation of UNCIP plan, McNaughton’s proposals contemplate “an agreed programme of progressive demilitarisation … on either side of the cease-fire line to withdrawal, disbandment and disarmament in such stages as not to cause fear at any point on both governments to reach agreement by January 31, 1950 on progressive steps to be taken in reducing and redistributing the forces to the minimum level “complete with the maintenance of security and of local law and order”. The Plan envisages the appointment of a United Nations Representative authorised to supervise demilitarisation and “to make any suggestions” to the two governments “likely to contribute to the expeditious and enduring solution of the Kashmir question.” This broadens scope of United Nations mediation. Pakistan accepts MaCnaughton proposals while suggesting minor alternation in wording to make paragraph conform to terms of UNCIP resolutions. India formulates its objections to them in the form of “amendments” which would radically change their scheme.
It does not countenance what it regards as equality of states between Indian-sponsored government and Azad Kashmir regime which is implied in execution of a balanced or symmetrical demilitarisation plan. It also insists on retaining Kashmir state forces after demilitarisation.Follow @kmsnewz